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Understanding Practice Change by Rural Landholders

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by: Prof Dave Pannell …

by: Prof Dave Pannell
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  • 1. Understanding Practice Change by Rural Landholders David Pannell ARC Federation Fellow School of Agricultural and Resource Economics University of Western Australia
  • 2.  
  • 3. Key points
    • Practice change depends on:
      • The human dimension (learning, social processes, goals, perceptions, …)
      • The technologies (relative advantage, trialability)
    • Each practice has its own unique adoption story
    • For policy, extension and research, it pays to anticipate adoptability
  • 4. The human dimension The innovative practice 
  • 5. At the individual level
    • It’s a learning process
    • Initially uncertainty is high
      • e.g. about a new pasture plant’s response to climate, soils, pests, weeds, inputs, grazing, etc.
    • Over time, learning  uncertainty falls
    • Subjective perceptions – it’s personal
  • 6. Learning process - stages
    • Awareness of problem or opportunity
    • Non-trial evaluation
    • Trial evaluation
    • Adoption (or not)
    • Review and modification
    • Disadoption
    Continuum Process is never complete
  • 7. Social factors influence adoption
    • Related to communication, trust, credibility
      • Social networks
      • Physical proximity
      • Extension
      • Ethnic/cultural divisions
    • Related to benefits from adopting the practice
      • Off-farm income
      • Property size
      • Age/education
      • Reason for holding land
      • Goals
  • 8. A variety of goals
    • (i) material wealth & financial security
    • (ii) environmental protection and enhancement
    • (iii) social approval and acceptance
    • (iv) personal integrity, ethics
    • (v) balance of work and lifestyle
  • 9. Categories of adopters
    • Kernal of truth
    • But given too much emphasis
    • Don’t forget the practices
    • An individual could be
      • Early adopter for a new crop variety
      • Laggard for a new pasture species
  • 10. The human dimension The innovative practice 
  • 11.  Characteristics of practices Relative advantage Trialability
  • 12. Relative advantage
    • Economic benefits
      • Profitability of practice
      • Farming systems effects
      • Adjustment cost
      • Riskiness
      • Compatibility
      • Complexity
      • Opportunity cost
    • Compatibility with
      • Beliefs/values
      • Family goals
      • Self image
      • Brand preference
    • Environmental
      • Values of landholder
      • Threats
      • Benefits of practice
  • 13. Relative advantage driving peak adoption
  • 14. ‘ Convenience agriculture’
    • More management demands
    • Less time available
    • The challenge for ‘inconvenient’ agricultural practices
    • e.g. Intensive livestock systems?
  • 15.  Characteristics of practices Relative advantage Trialability
  • 16. Trialability
    • How easy is it to get over the learning hump?
  • 17. Factors reduce value of trialling
    • Observability low or costly
    • Highly novel new practice
      • Previous experience not transferable
    • Long time scales
      • Survey of farmers in Upper Kent, 1997
      • Of the farmers who invested in Landcare (e.g. drainage, trees, lucerne) less than half had observed any benefit
  • 18. Each practice has its own adoption story
    • Influential factors
    • Time frame
    • Groups of adopters and non-adopters
  • 19. Factors influencing no-till adoption
    • Higher education
    • Participation in extension activities
    • Use of paid consultant
    • Years since first awareness of nearby no-till adopter
    • Occurrence of a very dry year
    • Fall in price of glyphosate
    • Location (region/state) & average rainfall
    • Effectiveness of pre-emergent herbicide (trifluralin)
    • Soil-moisture-conservation & seeding timeliness
    NOT SIGNIFICANT: Erosion risk; soil conservation benefits; Landcare 82% of decisions correctly predicted Source: D’ Emden et al. 2006
  • 20. Factors influencing IWM adoption
    • Higher use of extension
    • Higher education
    • Lower discount rate for future returns
    • Perception of higher ryegrass control (efficacy)
    • Perception of higher economic value of practices
    • Perception of longer time until new herbicide
    • Uncertainty of when new herbicide will be available
    • Higher proportion of the farm cropped
    • The resistance status of the farm
    86% of decisions correctly predicted Source: Llewellyn et al. 2006
  • 21. It pays to anticipate adoptability
    • Researchers
      • Target research effort to practices and technologies with better prospects
  • 22. It pays to anticipate adoptability
    • Extension
      • Sustained adoption requires relative advantage
      • Ignoring that threatens credibility
  • 23. It pays to anticipate adoptability
    • Policy
      • Anticipate adoptability when considering policy responses (what mechanism, if any)
      • Non-adoption is generally for good reasons, especially if it persists
  • 24. Key points
    • Practice change depends on:
      • The human dimension (learning, social processes, goals, perceptions, …)
      • The technologies (relative advantage, trialability)
    • Each practice has its own unique adoption story
    • For policy, extension and research, it pays to anticipate adoptability